Media Release

Australian Democracy Strengthened as Foreign Donations Banned

AH 1/19

The Hon. Alex Hawke MP
Special Minister of State

14 January 2019

The Morrison Government’s new political donation laws that ban foreign interference in Australian elections are now in place. The new laws mandate that political campaigning targeting Australians cannot be paid for by foreign donors, including election advertising, campaign phone calls and how-to-vote cards.

Special Minister of State Alex Hawke said these strong new laws passed by the Morrison Government were necessary to support the integrity of Australia's electoral system, and Australia's sovereignty.

“We have legislated to ensure that foreign donors can no longer influence Australian politics and the way elections are conducted in Australia,” Mr Hawke said.

“Foreign governments, foreign billionaires and foreign companies have no legitimate role in funding any activities that influence Australian politics, and that’s why we’ve banned foreign donations.”

The new laws ensure that political actors seeking to influence elections are subject to the same transparency, disclosure and reporting requirements as political parties.

“Reports that certain political actors in Australia have sought to source foreign funds just days before the start date of this legislation taking effect, are deeply concerning.”

“It is essential that foreign donors do not influence our elections and that organisations in Australia comply with the law. The Morrison Government will ensure compliance with this important legislation, both in practice and in spirit, as the Australian public expect.”

Mr Hawke confirmed that political actors who neither endorse candidates from their own ranks nor seek to form government, yet actively seek to influence the outcome of elections through their campaigning activities, are included in the scope of these new laws, and must comply.

The new laws came into effect on January 1.

For more information visit https://www.aec.gov.au/parties_and_representatives.

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Media Contact(s): 

Minister Hawke’s office;  Dean Shachar 0438 675 873